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Here are three little known tips from Ecuador on how to lose weight even during the holidays.

Tip #1:  Replace potatoes, pasta, rice or dressing with quinoa.

Quinoa Sprouts from Red Quinoa
Quinoa Sprouts from Red Quinoa

One of the world’s healthiest foods, quinoa contains a perfect balance of all eight essential amino acids, and is a great source of protein, making it an increasingly popular food choice for those looking to incorporate “superfoods” into their everyday diets. Gluten-free, wheat-free, and nutrient-packed, quinoa is ideal for those who are health-conscious, vegetarian, and/or physically active, as well as for those with gluten intolerance, wheat allergies, and other digestive disorders. But that’s not all:  You can eat quinoa guiltlessly knowing it’s free of cholesterol and trans fats.  Yet you can even make Quinoa dressing so the stuffed turkey has even more protein and less calories.

I’ll share the quinoa dressing recipe in a moment.

First, because Ecuador is famous for its Quinoa Jean Marie Butterlin, who heads our Ateam Ecuador  shares his famous tabouleh recipe!


Qunioa, the Andean grain that is a complete protein.

Ecuador, Health and looking fit!

By Jean Marie Butterlin

Why do you feel better and why do you lose weight, when living in Ecuador?

Of course everyone in Ecuador will tell you that one of the reasons is exercise  (a lot of walking) and the other is living at higher altitude, which makes you burn more calories but…..

I have been living in Ecuador for a few months and was wondering why some Ecuadorians were looking thin and healthy, while others looked a bit overweight  even in Cotacachi.

I got some answers, while watching the Ecuadorian eating habits  in restaurants.

I was surprised to find out that the Ecuadorian most eaten foods were 2 starches, potatoes and rice.  There is a reason for this. These two starches are produced locally and they are very cheap!

Every meat or fish dish in the restaurants comes with both “pappas » and arroz”.

What do the slimmer Ecuadorian eat then? I quickly found out, that they eat less of the potatoes and rice and more of the traditional foods like quinoa and amaranth as well as a lot of vegetables… all fresh and wonderful.

Amaranth and Quinoa, are two forgotten cereals even by the locals.  They are considered vegetables because they are close to the spinach family.

Why will eating quinoa and or amaranth make you thinner?

Quinoa and Amaranth both contain about 16 percent protein, E and B vitamins, calcium, iron and phosphorous. They  are much more filling than other cereals and use quite a few calories just for the digestion. Because they are not true cereal grains, they can be eaten by people who suffer from cereal grain allergies.

You can even find in Ecuador young quinoa and amaranth greens that are even more nutritious and make for tasty salad material and are high in vitamins (especially calcium and iron), minerals and protein.

Here is what Wikipedia says about nutritional value of quinoa :

Quinoa, uncooked

Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 1,539 kJ (368 kcal)
Carbohydrates 64 g
Starch 52 g
Dietary fibre 7 g
Fat 6 g
polyunsaturated 3.3 g
Protein 14 g
Water 13
Thiamine (Vit. B1) 0.36 mg (28%)
Riboflavin (Vit. B2) 0.32 mg (21%)
Vitamin B6 0.5 mg (38%)
Folate (Vit. B9) 184 μg (46%)
Vitamin E 2.4 mg (16%)
Iron 4.6 mg (37%)
Magnesium 197 mg (53%)
Phosphorus 457 mg (65%)
Zinc 3.1 mg (31%)
Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults.Source: USDA Nutrient database

Quinoa was of great nutritional importance in pre-Columbian Andean civilizations, being secondary only to the potato, and was followed in importance by maize.  In contemporary times, this crop has become highly appreciated for its nutritional value, as its protein content is very high (12%–18%). Unlike wheat or rice (which are low in lysine), quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it an unusually complete protein source among plant foods.[4] It is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is gluten-free and considered easy to digest. Because of all these characteristics, quinoa is being considered a possible crop in NASA’s Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long-duration manned spaceflights.

Both cereals have a nice flavor.

Amaranth is known as the Chinese Spinach because of its popularity as a green vegetable in Asia.

Quinoa grains and amaranth grains look so similar that you wonder sometimes if they are in fact the same product.

They do come from the same family of plants and nutritionally they are quite similar but there are some differences.

Both of South American origin, the Aztecs grew amaranth, while the Incas grew quinoa known as chisaya mama or mother of all grains.  They considered quinoa a sacred plant.

The conquistadors forbade quinoa cultivation for a time,  and so the Incas were forced to grow corn instead.

Here is a good recipe for tabouleh quinoa, that I made for Pascale’s birthday last week as well as for our Ecuadorian friends, who seemed to like it very much.


Bring equal volumes quinoa and water to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until all water is absorbed. Amaranth takes about 10-12 minutes and quinoa 12-15 minutes. Experiment to find the texture you prefer.

Let it cool to room temperature and then add thinly cut  tomato, thinly cut red onions, olive oil, lime and lemon juice, plenty of cilantro with salt and pepper.

Here are our Ecuadorian friends enjoying our Quinoa tabouleh ! (“The best they’ve ever eaten!”, they said.)


Here is a close shot of  the quinoa tabouleh….


Quinoa has become popular enough in the West that there is a great cookbook.   QUINOA 365 by Patricia Green and Carolyn Hemming which shows how to use this superfood in daily meals.

Here is the recipe for Savory Stuffing from Quinoa 365:

Use the normal ingredients of sauteed onion and celery.

Add 3/4 cup of quinoa, with broth, bay leaf, poultry seasonings.

Cover, reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.

Turn off heat and leave on the burner for 7 more minutes.

Toss in parsley…season with salt and pepper.

In the US, Merri and I buy our quinoa in bulk at the health food store or order it from Jaffee Brothers. The price is currently running around four dollars a pound.

Here are the other two tips by Jean Marie Butterlin on how to lose weight in Ecuador while enjoying a good espresso !

A lot of our clients in Ecuador report losing weight. It is mainly due to more exercise and healthy eating and they usually do not do any real conscious dieting. I have talked before about some of my secrets about losing weight.   Here are 2 more tips :

–       Keep your stress level down.  Stress produces a hormone called cortisol, that makes you crave sugar and carbs.  An elevated level of cortisol also destroys your muscle mass and produces energy, instead of using the fat stored in the belly. Cortisol is well known to contribute to depression, which also can lead to over-eating.

 Ecuador’s quality of life has helped a lot of people reduce their stress level.

I share with you my 3 little techniques to keep my stress down :

a)    A daily 20 minute meditation  which helps to relax and has shown to decrease cortisol level.

b)   A daily yoga session with 8 to 10 deep breathing cycles: inhale for 6 seconds esp. in your belly, keep in for 4 seconds and exhale for 6 seconds. Repeat 8 to 10 times.

c)    Take 10 drops of Rhodiola Rosea 3 times a day, an anti-anxiety herb that helps a lot in keeping your cortisol level low.

–       Keep your insulin level under control.  Of course limiting sugar intake is good but not always feasible; Insulin transforms your sugars into fat and stores it. Not good !

Here is a little trick to help balance your insulin level:  Pour 2 tablespoons/person of apple cider vinegar in the dressing of your daily salad. Apple Cider vinegar has been shown to regulate insulin levels.

Normal levels of insulin are associated with bigger productions of an enzyme called “lipase” that melts your fat away.

Another way of regulating your glucose level is to get more chlorogenic acid in your body.  This acid also regulates heavily the glucose in your body.

Where can you get chlorogenic acid ?

Mainly from drinking good Ecuadorian coffee (esp. expresso). 3 cups per day are considered good ; but without any sugar of course ! Ecuadorian coffee does not need any sugar as it has such a rich taste. You can get also chlorogenic acid from vegetables especially carrots but they have smaller quantities of chlorogenic acid than coffee has.

In short, in the morning, do your 10 breathing cycles, meditate and drink a couple of expressos!

Enjoy losing more weight.

Jean Marie

Enjoy the holidays but throw in some of these nutritional tips so you can enjoy the holidays and improved health.


See another way to reduce holiday stress (and beat inflation) on the wings of a dove.

2013-2014 Super Thinking + Spanish – Writing to Sell – Business & Investing Course Schedule

Schedule 2013-2014  Super Thinking + Spanish  – Writing to Sell – Investing & Business Courses.

Here are photos I took of Mt. Dora…

mt-dora-images tags:


mt-dora-images tags:

its annual arts festival. 


June 21-22-23  Super Thinking + Spanish  St. Charles, MO  Single $699  /  Couple $899 (Teacher Mark Frakes)

July 5-6-7  Super Thinking + Spanish  Sarasota, Florida  Single $699  /  Couple $899  (Teacher Mark Frakes)

July 12-13-14 Super Thinking + Spanish Kelowna, BC, Canada  Single $699  /  Couple $899 (Teachers Shawn & Suzanne Bandick)

August 16-17-18  Super Thinking + Spanish  St. Charles, MO  Single $699  /  Couple $899 (Teacher Mark Frakes)

August 31-September 1-2  Super Thinking Writer’s Camp  West Jefferson, NC  (Gary & Merri Scott)

September 27-28-29  Super Thinking + Spanish  St. Charles, MO  Single $699  /  Couple $899 (Teacher Mark Frakes)

October 4-5-6  Super Thinking International Investing & Business Seminar  West Jefferson, NC  

Enroll here $799.   Couple $999 (Gary & Merri Scott)

November 15-16-17   Super Thinking + Writer’s Camp  Mt. Dora, Florida  (Gary & Merri Scott) 

November 21-22-23  Super Thinking +Spanish  Puerto Aventuras, Mexico Single $699/Couple $899 (Teachers Suzanne & Shawn Bandick)


January 10-11-12   Super Thinking + Spanish  Mt. Dora, Florida  (Gary & Merri Scott)

February 14-15-16  Super Thinking International Investing & Business Seminar  Mt. Dora, Florida  

Enroll here $799.   Couple $999  (Gary & Merri Scott)

For information more contact Cheri Hall at cheri@garyascott.com

Attend all seminars and courses and more FREE or at a discount as an International club member.  See details here.



See how to order the quinoa cookbook from Amazon.com Quinoa 365 The Everyday Super food.